gyrogeerloose writes "Stephen Hawking unveiled an unsettling clock in Cambridge on Friday. Designed by John Taylor — a British horologist and inventor whose thermostatic switch is incorporated in millions of electric appliances worldwide — the clock was conceived as a tribute to another British inventor, John Harrison. Harrison invented the grasshopper escapement in the early 18th Century, which resulted in extremely accurate mechanical time keeping and was instrumental in solving the Longitude Problem. Taylor's clock, which in entirely mechanical in operation but has no hands, uses a fearsome-looking 'demon grasshopper' as its escapement. 'I... wanted to depict that time is a destroyer — once a minute is gone you can't get it back' Taylor said. 'That's why my grasshopper is not a Disney character. He is a ferocious beast that over the seconds has his tongue lolling out, his jaws opening, then on the 59th second he gulps down time.' It also (purposely) only tells correct time once every five minutes. An excellent video of the clock in action, with an explanation of its workings by its inventor, is available on YouTube."
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